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The Inconsistent Behavior Of Some Christians
"Many a barren church owes its present sad estate to its inconsistent behaviour, and many a barren Christian has come into this mournful condition by a careless, unsanctified walk before the Lord." - Charles Spurgeon
"Thou shalt be fed with a spring of blessing, that will never fail."
- John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
"Our souls are never valuable as gardens but when they are watered with the dews of God's Spirit and grace."
"Those that are gardens to Christ must acknowledge Him a fountain to them, from whose fulness they receive and to Whom it is owing that their souls are as a watered garden."
"It is the greatest comfort of the church to be made serviceable to the glory of God, and to be as His garden in which He delights."
- Matthew Henry
Would you consider your soul to be a "garden that has no water" or one that has become "like the garden of Eden"?
Believe it or not! Your answer depends on who you are trusting in!
Isaiah 58:11 says - "...and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not."
Jeremiah 31:12 says - "...and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all."
Ezekiel 36:35 says - "And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden..."
Isaiah 51:3 says - "For the LORD shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. "
"like a watered garden" - Doesn't that sound so much better than a "garden that has no water"? It is like a paradise - always flourishing. The Orientals used this picture to denote continued prosperity and happiness. And the Scriptures use it as a beautiful expression of the blessedness of the continual favor of God.
"like a watered garden...whose waters fail not." - In other words, they do not deceive or lie. Isn't this interesting? How can the "waters" deceive or lie? The caravan of travelers - expecting to find water as formerly at a well-known fountain - are not disappointed. The Shepherd - expecting to obtain water for himself or his flock - is not deceived.
"soul shall be as a watered garden" - This describes a whole person who is beautiful, flourishing, and growing - spiritually speaking. It is someone who is full of the light, life, and power of God. You will find him rejoicing evermore...praying without ceasing...and giving thanks in everything.
"land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden" - This describes everyone who was once lost in sin and is now saved by the grace of God. The land was "desolate" because of sin. But now - because of the grace of God - it is flourishing and fruitful.
"...and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD..." - This is a picture of the Church as a stranger and pilgrim in this world - facing fiery trials and encountering "manifold temptations"(1 Peter 1:6). Her "wilderness" experiences produce much fruit in due season - through the dews of Divine Grace.
Song of Solomon tells us Who the "fountain of gardens"(Song of Solomon 4:15) is - the One Who makes its flowers and plants to flourish. It is none other than the Lord Jesus. He is the "fountain" of all good and grace. He is the One Who gives continuance of life and well-being. It is "in Him" that all believers "live, move, and have their being"(Acts 17:28). Without His constant supply of "living water," their "garden" becomes a dry and barren wilderness.
Every Christian should be "like a watered garden" - watered by the Lord Jesus through His dews of grace and the ministry of His Word. As "plants of the Lord," they should be thriving and flourishing. They should shoot up and grow and bring forth abundant fruit for His glory.
Sad but true - this is not always the case.
As Isaiah 1:30 describes, some are "as a garden that hath no water." What is the explanation for this?
Isaiah 1:30 refers to people who trust in idols or the "arm of the flesh." They are not watered with the "living waters" of the "Fountain" nor are they rained upon with God's Grace. Their Source of Help from heaven is dried up. Resultantly, they have become withered and parched - with nothing flourishing.
The Prophet Jeremiah called them - "cursed." This is what he said in Jeremiah 17:5 - "Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD." This man placed his confidence in the wisdom, power, kindness, and faithfulness of men. He made application to them as his principle agents of aid rather than as being instruments in the hand of God. Resultantly, he inherited a "curse" instead of a "blessing."
Once again, we ask you - are you "like a watered garden" or are you "as a garden that hath no water"? Are you constantly deriving "life" and "strength" from the "Fountain of gardens"? Who exactly is keeping you alive - Jesus or men? On whose arm are you depending? If "men" would be taken from you, would you immediately fall apart?
"like a watered garden...whose waters fail not" - The "Good Shepherd" brings His sheep to you - whether it be to you individually... your Prayer Group...Bible Study...Ministry...or Church. Do they find nourishment for their souls? Or do "your waters" lie - in that these same people leave your presence disappointed? Can the Shepherd of all sheep depend on you to supply them spiritual food from your "garden"?
What is this inconsistency that others see in your life? Or should we ask - what is this "careless, unsanctified walk before the Lord" that they see? You call Jesus - "Lord" - yet you trust in the "arm of flesh" when in trouble.
Don't allow your soul to be anything but - "a watered garden...whose waters fail not." Determine today that you are going to change your way of thinking and lifestyle to depend totally on Jesus for everything. Man may be an instrument in God's hand to bless you, but only Jesus is your Source of help and the "Fountain" of your "garden."
If you have Jesus, you have everything!
Don't ever forget that!
May God Bless His Word.